People urged to make change to ‘Fairtrade’

Councillor Uel Mackin (right), Chairman of the council's Development Committee, with Dr Chris Stange, Chair of the Northern Ireland All-party Group on Fairtrade at Stormont, at the inaugural meeting of the newly constituted Lisburn Castlereagh Fairtrade Steering Group.

Councillor Uel Mackin (right), Chairman of the council's Development Committee, with Dr Chris Stange, Chair of the Northern Ireland All-party Group on Fairtrade at Stormont, at the inaugural meeting of the newly constituted Lisburn Castlereagh Fairtrade Steering Group.

The council has joined forces with a range of stakeholders across Lisburn and Castlereagh to ensure the area secures Fairtrade City status.

A Lisburn Castlereagh Fairtrade Steering Group comprised of members of the local business community, educational establishments, churches, charities and council representatives was recently set up to support the aim of achieving Fairtrade accreditation by summer 2017.

Members of the Lisburn Castlereagh Fairtrade Steering Group pictured with Dr Chris Stange and Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the Steering Group and the council's Development Committee.

Members of the Lisburn Castlereagh Fairtrade Steering Group pictured with Dr Chris Stange and Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the Steering Group and the council's Development Committee.

Fairtrade City status is an award made to the people of an area for the work they do to support and promote Fairtrade.

To discuss the accreditation process, Dr Chris Stange, Chair of the Northern Ireland All-party Group on Fairtrade at Stormont, attended the inaugural meeting of the newly constituted steering group.

The group’s mission is to work together to promote Fairtrade within the council area, organise events for Fairtrade Fortnight (February 27 - March 12) and attain accreditation for the council area.

Fairtrade is a much needed sector as regrettably two billion people exist on less than £1.35 per day and 30,000 children die daily from preventable poverty-related disease. Within our society there is a tradition of supporting developing countries and the council is encouraging its residents to continue to do so by supporting Fairtrade.

Councillor Uel Mackin, Chairman of the Steering Group and the council’s Development Committee, said: “It is very important that the entire community gets behind this Fairtrade initiative to ensure that the small scale farmers in developing countries have the opportunity to compete in the global marketplace. Through the purchasing of items carrying the Fairtrade symbol you are helping to ensure a set price for these farmers and that there is no child labour, no pesticides and no human trafficking involved in the production of the goods.

“We are asking you to consider changing even one of your everyday items such as tea, coffee, chocolate and bananas to Fairtrade versions. By making these simple changes you can play your part in alleviating poverty and protecting the environment in developing countries.”

He added: “The council is extremely proud of all the work that has already been undertaken from those in educational establishments, businesses, faith groups, community groups and individuals and we acknowledge their work as we move towards achieving Fairtrade status. Over the coming weeks the council will be contacting schools and churches across the area to encourage them to obtain Fairtrade status if they have not already done so as part of their curriculum studies in the ‘World Around Us’.

“The council would like as many businesses, schools and community groups to be part of this citywide initiative and encourages them to help receive Fairtrade accreditation by following the council online at www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/fairtrade and facebook.com/LisburnCastlereagh for more information.”

Anyone interested in being part of the Steering Group should contact Clora Gallagher on 028 9250 9384 or email clora.gallagher@lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk